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72                  HISTORY OF PERSIA
which he at length despatched to invade Persia was allowed
to approach Rei without opposition, but there it was
defeated by a smaller body under Tahir "the Ambi-
dextrous/' who slew Amin's general, AH, with his left
hand. This Tahir, a Persian by race, was the descendant
of a slave who, upon securing his freedom, became a client
of the Khuzai clan. He founded the Tahiri dynasty,
which was to play a great part in Khorasan, and the
present Amirs of Kain claim descent from him.1
After his victory Tahir assumed the offensive, and
with the support of Harthama advanced on the capital
by way of Ahwaz, defeating army after army on the way.
Amin, distracted first by a rebellion in Syria and then by
a conspiracy which was for a time successful, was in no
position to withstand him. Receiving the allegiance of
Arabia for his master, Tahir captured Wasit, and Baghdad
alone remained loyal to the Caliph of the West, After a
siege which lasted for a whole year the city was taken by
storm. Amin, who had taken refuge in the citadel, then
surrendered, and was put to death by the Khorasan
Rebellions in the Western Half of the Galiphat^ A.U. 198.....
201 (813-816),—But the struggle between the Persian
and the Arabian halves of the Caliphate was not ended by
the death of Amin. By an act of folly Tahir after his
victories was removed from the supreme command in
favour of Hasan, brother of Fazl, the Persian Vizier,
and although he was appointed Governor of Syria and
Mesopotamia instead, he was naturally disinclined to take
active steps, and remained at Ricca a passive spectator of
Mamun apparently determined to make Mervs his
capital and did not appear at Baghdad* In consequence,
a rising was fomented at Kufa in favour of the House of
Ali, and other rebellions broke out in Asia Minor and
Arabia. Harthama, faithful to Mamun, travelled to
1   Ten Thousand Miks^ etc., p. 399.
2  According to Yakut, the following «ying is attributed to Mimwn; "There ire
three thing* at Mcrv which the poor enjoy as well a* the rich, to wit, it» deliciou*
melons, its water, which ia always fresh owing; to the abundance of the »now*> and iu
downy cotton."